Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sulphur Springs Race Report

What was the A team's expression?  I love it when a plan comes together...

Of course if you set the bar low enough, the plan should come together!  The plan was to start the 25K slowly and finish slowly!  However, along the way, it seemed like a good idea to open it up just a tad.  I'm tired of being injured and recovering from surgery.  It is a new year and I now declare that I am fully healed.  Don't interrupt me with comments about torn calves, back pain and knee pain (I'm talking about and to myself, which is perfectly normal).  We all talk to ourselves.  I also argue with myself (don't we all?) and at some points, I refuse to talk to myself.  This might not be mainstream...

So, 31 minutes for the first 5K.  Plan execution is within tolerance.  At about 7K, feeling quite good, I decided to keep pushing until slightly past my limit, pull back a bit, then maintain.  This seemed like a good idea until about 18K, when I had to slow down and re-group.  Had I pushed too hard?  Only one way to tell.  The new plan was to increase the pace once I had recovered.  It took until the 21K mark before I could push.  For those who know the SS course, the point was shortly after the 3 uphills on the lollipop loop and before the long downhill.  Great timing!  I was able to maintain a satisfactory speed for the rest of the lollipop trail.  Walked the middle section of the last uphill before the finish line and ran it in for 2:37.

28 minutes faster than Pick Your Poison...  Hmmm...  No, don't extrapolate into dreamland.  For icing on the cake, I also paced Lee Anne for the last 7 - 8K of her 50 miler.  A total of 32K for the day.  Lee Anne had a great race, taking 2 minutes off her 50M PB.

What's next?  You should never look at the Ontario trail/ultra site after a good race.  Lee Anne and I decided to sign up for Kingston 6 hour race on June 8.  Why?  Lee Anne wants to run for 6 hours on pavement because "it will be a fun social run".  I'm running it because I'm invincible.  Yeah, there is another word to describe why I signed up...

I am now having second thoughts about Kingston, as I plan to sign up for the Niagara 50K, which is on June 22.  If I run too far at Kingston, finishing Niagara 50K could be tricky.  Hang on!  I'm completely healed, so 2 ultras in 2 weeks should be a piece of cake.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Pick Your Poison RR, Sulphur Soon, 50K???

Well, it has been a while...

Mind you, I did post a PYP race report on Running Mania.  Skip this if you have already read it:

Most aspects of this race are great in terms of execution and perqs. A T-shirt and honey in your race kit, very cool socks for finishers and a course that keeps them coming back every year. Weather was not a big factor this year, just a bit of rain to start the race and some snow on the traverses, as in traverse a ski hill or three.

Race Report

Well, some good, some bad. I was a little apprehensive about the first race this year. Would the knee implode due to the toughness of the course? PYP is a 12.5K course (I did 25K) that requires both attention to terrain and a vast amount of effort. Many of the 50K runners were wiped by the end of their race. I did well for the first loop and had some aspirations during the first half of loop 2. Unfortunately, at 20K, my torn calf made itself known. A torn muscle is not really an injury, more of an annoyance, and with some rest and judicial training, can be made whole after a couple of weeks. I thought I had it nailed 2 weeks ago. Wrong! Of course at 20K, with a sharp pain on every right footfall, my only thought was "only 5K. I'm not stopping because of a tiny tear". At 23K my right calf explained that continuing was not an option. So I walked a bit. At this point I was having trouble walking uphill. I decided that enough was enough - let's get this over. I started to run. It was painful but felt great to be getting to the finish line. My calf then explained that it was serious about wanting to stop and gave me an ultimatum. Stop or experience an ubertear. Hmmm. The thought of a DNF in the first race with only 2K to go overcame my better judgement. I continued to run, but only the flats and downhill.

I finished 25K in 3:05, which is officially my worst PYP 25K finish. I also have a very cranky calf to contend with. I'm looking at 2 or 3 days off running. I am not happy with my time, or with finishing the race (I should have DNF'd). I am happy that the season has started. I am very happy that my knee (Surgery last year) held up admirably. Overall: I give the day a 72%.

(End of RR)

After reading the report, 2 things strike me.  1.  Although the muscle tear was annoying (bad) I don't think I should have DNF'd. There are very few runners over the age of 5 that have not had an injury.  It is part of any sport, not just running.  2.  It appears that I am belittling a muscle tear ("not really an injury").  Try telling that to an elite hockey player sitting on the bench during the Stanley cup playoffs.  On second thought, wear protective gear before telling him...  I should have described it as an injury that will heal quickly, given proper rest and care.

So, 3 weeks have gone by since PYP, I have rested my calf and ramped up to 28K long runs.  No, don't ask.  Just consider an oxymoron as a valid logical construct.  Next week is 25K at Sulphur Springs, Canada's largest ultra race.  As of now, 293 people are signed up for an ultra distance of 50K, 50M or 100M.  I don't know of another race in Canada that has that many people registered for a long run.

This might be premature, but IF SS goes well, I plan to sign up for 50K at Niagara.  I have not completed an ultra in about 3 years, so I am scared senseless.  Part of the mental game is to consider Niagara a test, if I DNF.  I need to run long, I need to see how the knees hold up during a long run, I like tasting wine...

Well, gotta run!